Episode 9: Surprises and Stuff – Part 2

Amir takes Camilla out for the night, but it isn’t long before one of their reoccurring issues, occurs… again…

An hour later…

We landed at a hotel bar on the busiest street in the city’s historic district. It was similar to the last one we had been to in WoodPine City Market, and the one before that in Atwood Stadium, from what I could see; but according to Amir, they each had something special that set them apart from the others, and kept people coming back week-after-week. So our objective for the night was to figure out what that ‘special thing’ was.

This game of Bar Night Investigator was research for his newest business venture, an industrial themed cocktail bar in East Atwood, but doubled as date night for us too—part of it anyway. And since the grand opening was only weeks away, he was working overtime, all the time, on the business side of things—including market research—even when we were together.

“What you think about those lights over there?” He pointed at the gold-plated sconces layering the wall near the entrance.

But I didn’t mind. I loved hearing all about this thing he was so passionate about—especially since getting him to talk about anything outside of us, especially family stuff, was like trying to ride the escalator’s railing at the mall, backwards, with nothing but leggings and flip flops on, without breaking so much as a fingernail—not something I’d recommend, by the way.

On top of that, I had fun playing his consultant on these things, and seeing my input influence his decisions, especially when they made the final cut.

“I like the gold. They remind me of fairy lights; the way they’re lining the wall like that.” I traced the air with my finger, following their pattern. “Gives me a backyard patio feel.”

“Fairy lights…” He nodded, staring off into space, like he was visualizing the same set-up I was. “I like that.”

Besides, he always made up for his busyness with little surprises like last week’s rose bouquet for when he canceled on me last minute, and sometimes bigger, more expensive ones like this tennis bracelet for something he did before that, and then there were the… other things where… he…

He was just… really, really good at making up for stuff.

“Let’s play a game,” he said, giving us a small break from work.

And getting me to do things I usually wouldn’t with all these games he always had up his sleeve.

“What kind of game?”

Things that were definitely worthy of a few side-eyes, especially when done in places like… his car at the drive-in movie theater or the balcony of his fourth floor condo, but us being seated across from each other, in this tiny booth, with full-visibility to everyone, didn’t leave a whole lot of options for his usual brand of trouble, so what was he up to?

“Observations,” he said, directing my attention to a couple near the bar across from us. “Tryna guess what they talking ’bout.”

People watching? That’s… not what I would’ve guessed, but okay.

“How would we decide who won though?”

“By whoever’s right ’bout what they do when they done.”

That sounded easy enough, but I knew better than to fall for that, especially since his hand had been under the table, caressing my thigh since we sat down, possible witnesses and all. There had to be more to it than that.

“So what do I get if I win?”

“Whatever you want.”

But those words—such beautiful words, especially coming from his mouth—were hard to turn down. Getting me everything on my Sephora Loves list though, was a pretty big prize for such a simple objective, and only furthered my suspicion.

“And what do you get if you win?”

He sipped his drink, that one smirk that preceded every questionable thing we’ve ever gotten into, seated on the rim of his glass. “Everything I want.”

And those words were dangerous, especially coming from his mouth.

But a year’s worth of body wash, lotion, and lip gloss was on the line, so I was playing and winning. He could smirk all he wanted.

“I’ll go first.”

I zeroed in on the couple, taking stock of the entire scene, from their body language to their facial expressions to whatever else I could see. And the first thing I noticed was how they were standing, even though there was ample seating nearby. Next was his face, his super cheesy smile specifically. Then her and her constant hair twirling. Even from where I was sitting, I could tell he was doing most of the talking, but it wasn’t boring her; her eyes were just over his shoulder because the group of women at the end of the bar were watching them.

Based on this evidence, I’d say they weren’t a couple at all, and that the drink sitting next to her was his treat in exchange for getting to know her. That’s why they weren’t sitting; she didn’t know if she liked him or not—not yet, but all the bragging he was doing was going to win her over. So in a few minutes, she’d probably give her friends over there, some kind of I’m-okay signal, and either follow him to one of the empty booths where the real conversation would take place, or if his game was that good, up to his pre-booked hotel room.

I reported my findings to Amir, and we agreed on everything, but since I went first, that made me the provisional winner—so long as the ‘couple’s’ interaction ended in one of the two ways I predicted.

And since I knew it would, I had the dollar amount of my Sephora order ready to present, but for absolutely no reason he said, “Why you think he’s bragging though?”

Opening the ‘winner’ title back up for discussion.

Ugh.

I was over this game at this point, and more concerned with getting an ETA on my skincare stuff than discussing the why behind men only being able to impress women with money, status, dick—and yes, I do realize the irony in this statement, but it was different with us—so I said, “‘Cause y’all are always bragging.”

Which only opened up a new can of worms because he said, “I didn’t brag with you.”

And while that was technically true, his jewelry was loud enough to do it for him. Besides, he was too busy committing other crimes that were way worse than flaunting his money in my face.

“That’s ’cause you were hitting me with all those corny ass lines instead.” I said, recounting the aforementioned crimes from that night.

The night in question, when all this law-breaking took place, was a few months ago when we first met, at a bar, just like this one—sans the hotel rooms. I noticed him as soon as we walked in the door, and my immediate impression was that he liked attention, and had no trouble getting it. I was used to those types, and a long-term relationship with one of them made me an expert at scoping out those traits.

“Nah.” He laughed at my impression of him. “That was just research.”

“So now it’s research?”

When he sat down at my table, I thought for sure he’d tell me about his job, or his car, or the price of his watch—like every other guy who tried to hit—but he didn’t. And he was cute, and I was kind of drunk, and kind of horny, so I gave him a pass for all those outdated pick-up lines he dropped on me.

“That’s what it’s always been,” he said. “Me tryna see what you like.”

“And what do I like then?”

Okay, I know I said I wanted out of this game, and asking him that was like hitting a U-turn at the exit, but I couldn’t help it. I was curious.

“A few things,” he said. “Touches for sure.” With that under-the-table hand sliding up just enough to make my leg twitch, proving his point. “Compliments and shit like that too. But those the small ones. Your big thing…” He reclined in his seat, his favorite I-know-something-you-don’t-know smile taunting me. “Nah. Never mind.”

Never mind? What do you mean never mind? You can’t just drop some top-secret sounding words on me then dismiss it with a never mind!

“What?” I said, all anxious-like as if whatever he was about to say was imperative to my well-being.

It wasn’t, of course, but I wanted to know!

He shook his head, completely ignoring the legitimate urgency in my voice. “Nothing.”

“What?” I said again, my curiosity growing into frustration. “Tell me!”

“Nah. You not ready to hear it.”

Not ready to hear it? Here we go with that again…

He was always doing stuff like this—and I fucking hated it. It’s like he would let me get close to things, just to keep them from me. And by things, I didn’t mean in the physical sense like the Sephora stuff, the jewelry, the dinners, the flowers, and all the other ways he spent money on me. Those things he’d give me, easily—with no problem. Stuff I didn’t even ask for or expect in any kind of way; he was always giving those to me, completely unprompted. But the things I’m talking about, things like… feelings… specifically in the form of words—the stuff I actually did ask for? That shit was off-the-table.

My questions were always off-the-table.

“Whatever. I don’t even care anymore.”

And I knew this situation wasn’t that big of a deal; probably just another level in this stupid game or something, but him choosing not to tell me yet another thing… just reminded me of all the other things he wouldn’t tell me.

“You mad now?” he said as if my frowned-up face, tightly folded arms, and refusal to look at him wasn’t proof enough.

“No,” I said, despite my demeanor.

“Camilla—”

“I’m not.”

I was, obviously. And even though I knew why I was, I still felt kind of… conflicted for being mad in the first place. I mean, it’s not like none of this was new. He had been like this since the beginning. But I guess I just thought… it was because of the rules and stuff we had in place back then, and that he would… change once we got… together-together.

But I guess I was wrong about that.

He reached across the table, his hand extended for mine. “Come here.”

“I don’t want to,” I said, keeping my arms, especially my hands, close to my chest.

“You can’t sit with me for two minutes?”

I rolled my eyes at him acting like we were on opposite sides of the room. “I’m literally sitting across from you.”

When he realized I was serious about not coming over to him, he pulled himself up from the table, letting out a loud-enough-for-me-to-hear sigh before joining me on my side.

He’s really gonna act like I’m getting on his nerves?

“Why you always mad with me?” he said, trying to squeeze into the small one-seater; exaggerating as usual.

I wasn’t mad nearly as much as he made it seem, but if that was how he felt, maybe he shouldn’t have always been doing things that always gave me reasons to be mad all the time.

“Why are you always being so dramatic?”

Despite him trying all kinds of ways to get in my seat, I remained in my spot, my body as stiff as my dad’s overly-starched jeans. But one unexpected nudge on his part knocked me right out of place, allowing him to slide in—barely.

I swear I hate him so much.

We may have been squished together like sardines or whatever, but my arms were staying folded, and my eyes nowhere near his direction.

“I’m dramatic?” he said, his words all stressed out like there was some mistruth to what I said. “But you the one sitting over here pouting and shit like somebody did something to you.”

Forget what I said earlier. I wasn’t conflicted anymore. He definitely deserved this attitude.

And by this attitude, I meant me ignoring his ass—and if his response to me not answering his calls, or texts the minute they came through were any indication of how he felt about that kind of stuff—he wouldn’t be able to handle it.

I lifted my glass, my eyes straight ahead, as I took the longest, quietest, most ignoring-the-man-sitting-next-to-you-ist sip of my drink. I didn’t even like vodka like that, and only ordered it because tequila takes me out, and I was not trying to fall asleep on our date, but knowing he was losing his shit was worth a mouthful of spicy grapefruit water.

Right around the two-minute mark, he broke his silence, saying something, whispering it directly in my ear, but my ability to comprehend any of his words was disabled until he said something worthy of hearing; something along the lines of… I was wrong, or I’m dumb— I’d even settle for I need to do better as a boyfriend by not closing you out and being honest about my feelings and the other things going on in my life. So until then, I was officially non-fluent in the Language of Amir.

I swallowed back the first disgusting sip, and as I tilted my glass for another round of Silent Treatment Sipping, he gave in, the floodgates of much-deserved apologies flying wide open, drenching my side of the seat in a non-stop stream of I’m sorrys.

“I’m sorry. Okay?” he said for like the thirtieth time, unloosening my arms like they were the keepers of my anger or something.

I wasn’t ready to forgive him yet, but I let them fall to my sides anyway—a decision he wasted no time taking advantage of. He played his apology tune in my ear, once again, slipping an arm around me, pulling me in for one of those please-stop-being-mad-at-me hugs I had been receiving a lot of lately.

“What exactly are you sorry for?” I tested the sincerity of his words.

And he responded quickly and accurately. “For not answering your question. Right?”

I guess he really was listening last time.

I gave a slow but affirming nod. “Right.” Looking up at him for the first time since he said those God-forsaken words, my head rested against his chest as my arms wrapped a little tighter around him.

He looked back at me, a hopeful smile on his face. “So you forgive me now?”

And it made me realize that… I was being too hard on him. I mean, it’s not like we were talking about anything important anyway. And he did apologize on top of acknowledging why he was apologizing in the first place.

He had never done that before.

So that meant there was some kind of understanding there—progress even, right? Which meant it would only get better, right?

Right.

So I was just being too pushy, impatient— I know I could be impatient sometimes… most times… all the time; when all he really needed was time.

And since everything else was good— no, amazing, I could give him time… and tonight, forgiveness.


Author’s Note

Noticed the change in format? More words, less pics? This is how the story will be posted from this point on. Long story short, I love this story and all the time I’ve spent working on it and everything else I’ve done for the sims, but I have a lot of other writing projects (and corresponding goals) planned for the future that I’d also like to give my attention to. Spending less time doing things in game for pics means more time writing, more story content for y’all, AND more practice with my prose and all the other stuff that goes into making good stories. I hope y’all still enjoy it, changes and all, and as always, thank you for your support!


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Episode 9: Surprises and Stuff – Part 1

Three weeks after the last episode’s events, Pandora tries, once again, to form a friendship with Camilla, just to have things ruined by an unplanned visit from Amir. But once she meets him, he’s quickly forgiven.

Three Weeks Later

Pandora

I’m busy Pandora. Read the handmade sign posted on Camilla’s bedroom door. She placed it there before I went to bed last night, and almost eighteen hours later—way past a reasonable expiration time—it was still up! And the edges of the card stock, the most obvious place to look for attempts of removal, were completely smooth; no curls, wrinkles, folds, or anything!

This had to be a mistake.

She’d never leave it up this long.

Not her. Not Camilla. But someone else?

Someone who was holding her against her will, and preventing her from leaving, and—

10…9…8…

I closed my eyes, counting down as I drew in the deepest breath I could, employing my therapist’s advice for times like this. She warned about Atwood triggering this kind of reaction and spent our last few sessions urging me to rethink this move. I knew she was just looking out for me; she had done a great job of that over the years, but she couldn’t have really thought something as small as paranoid feelings and occasional delusions would keep me from pursuing this—especially after all the work I’ve done. That’s what medication’s for.

I exhaled once I reached the number one, but the disturbing image of something awful happening to another person I cared about—right in front of me—was too hard to ignore.

I had to act!

So I pressed my face against the door. But it was silent. Then turned the knob. But it was locked.

I couldn’t get in!

I told Camilla blocking the door was a bad idea when I realized she was keeping a chair under the knob. What if there was an emergency? But instead of making a more accessible entry point, she replaced the chair with a lock. A deadbolt at that!

“Camilla?” I banged against the door, the intensity of my knocks, strong enough to do some real damage. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Pandora!” she said, no obvious signs of distress in her voice. “Isn’t the sign on the door?”

The sign was supposed to be temporary, for times when she needed privacy, like when her boyfriend was over, but he wasn’t, and he wasn’t last night either, and it had been eighteen hours, so the original rules shouldn’t have applied, but I don’t think she saw it that way.

I just needed to explain.

“Yeah, but—”

“So that means no knocking, remember?”

“I know but—”

“So that means no knocking, remember?”

But she didn’t give me a chance to, so I backed away from the door. “I remember…” And dragged myself back into the kitchen.

I’d just have to guess what she wanted for dinner instead.


A pound of Italian sausage and homemade pasta sauce later

It was hard connecting with her, no matter what I tried. Somehow I was always either, coming on too strong, like my grandma used to say, or not getting the hints or seeing the signs, like my college roommate once said, and that’s what made this so difficult—the expectation of knowing the right way to do things, automatically, without being told because what felt strong to others and seemed like hints to most, didn’t… to me. So now, instead of welcoming me into her life, like I had pictured so many times before, Camilla was closing me out—in the most literal sense.

Maybe I should just tell her what brought me here?

Honesty is the best policy, right?

Yes!

No.

Maybe for everyone else, but for me, that’d probably just backfire too.

I should just focus on this pasta instead. At least that’s something I’m good at.

My self-hosted pity party was in full-swing, but then I heard the greatest sound imaginable—her door opening!

This must be one of those signs my old roommate was talking about!

I tossed the box of noodles I was holding on the counter and met her in the entryway.

“Camilla! He—” I cleared my throat, toning down the enthusiasm. Didn’t want to come on too strong again. “Hey… How was work?”

These appearances—the ones where she left her room for reasons other than bathroom breaks—were few and far between, so if I wanted to have an actual conversation with her, I couldn’t pass this up.

But she walked right past me. “Hey.” Way more interested in the bag of Hot Cheetos in the cabinet than anything I had to—

That’s it! Hot Cheetos! Another sign!

“Have you noticed how hard it’s been to find these lately?” I said, pointing at the bag of Cheddar Jalapeño—her favorite.

She gasped, her coveted snack clutched tightly to her chest like she feared for its safety. “It’s crazy, right?”

“Yeah! Almost like they’re going extinct.”

They weren’t going extinct. The shortage was caused by production issues at the main manufacturing plant. This, of course, created limited availability all over the country with some cities affected more than others, especially larger ones like Atwood, but sharing her Hot Cheetos Extinction Theory—the one I overheard her talking about on the phone once—could be the thing that finally brings us closer—like real sisters!

Her eyes widened. “This is what I’ve been saying!” As the joy of finally having these theories validated lit up her whole face. “Everyone thinks it’s crazy, but I swear I never had these problems back in Colebrook.”

See, Camilla! I understand you!


Half-a-bag of Cheetos later…

We were bonding! For the first time ever over these cheese flavored corn puffs she loved so much. It was like the slumber parties I would see in the movies when I was a kid—just in the kitchen without the actual slumber or… party stuff. But we were talking about all kinds of Cheetos-related things, from our favorite flavors to Flaming Hot supremacy, we even placed bets on what brands they would partner with next. I had never even tried Cheetos before, but this was so much fun!

Our super special moment that I’d been waiting my entire life for was going better than I could’ve ever dreamed, but then a knock at the door ruined everything.

We stopped, mid-laugh, the look we gave each other, sharing the same amount of surprise.

“Is that for you?” she asked.

“No.” I shook my head. “I wasn’t expecting anyone.”

I’m never expecting anyone.

She slid the bag of Cheetos on the counter and left the kitchen to investigate. “Yeah… Me either.”

I followed her to the door, mimicking her silent footsteps, just in case we were pretending not to be home or someone was—

“Oh my God!” She backed away from the peephole like the most terrifying thing she had ever seen was on the other side of it.

“What?” I tried to pass her to see for myself. If there was danger out there, it would have to get through me and my Black Belt training first!

But she grabbed my shoulders, pushing me back. “Shhh!” she whispered. “Amir’s out there!”

Amir? Her boyfriend? I get to meet her boyfriend?! This makes up for interrupting Cheeto-talk big time!

“Oooh! Your boyfriend?” I tried to get to the door again. “Can I get it?”

“What? No!” She shook me like I should’ve known that the guy she had been sneaking in and out for almost a month being here was a bad thing. “He can’t see me looking like this.

This? A t-shirt, shorts, and a ponytail? She wore this kind of thing all the time. What was wrong with it today? It’s not like it was dirty, or there were holes or rips anywhere, so I didn’t see the problem, but the frazzled look in her eyes made me think I should have.

Is this another one of those signs? Or maybe it was a hint? Are they the same thing? Like synonyms that represent the same idea, but—

“Okay. Fineeee,” she said before I could identify the correct response. “You get the door.” She backed away toward the hall. “And stall him or something while I go change real quick. Can you do that?”

Can I do that? I can do more than that! If he wasn’t in love with her already, he would be by the time I was done with him!

“Yes! Of course!”

I squeezed the doorknob tight, struggling to contain my excitement long enough for her to get to her room. Once I was sure she was inside, and the door was opened, I think I understood why she wanted to change.

OH. MY. GOSH. HE’S. GORGEOUS!

I knew he would be good looking—I mean, look at Camilla—but he was so much more than I expected. His eyes, especially his eyes, his cheekbones, his lips—looked like they were crafted by the most talented man-maker in history! He was an Adonis, an actual Moroccan God!

She so deserves him.

I picked my mouth up off the floor and welcomed him in.

“You must be Amir,” I said, closing the door behind him. “I’m so excited to finally meet you!”

He smiled, just once, and a strange fluttery sensation took over my stomach, followed immediately by a feeling that wasn’t so pleasant.

This is not okay! This is not okay!

I would never, ever do anything to ruin Camilla’s life or relationship or anything! That’s so, so, so, so far from what I wanted for her—but he was just so dang handsome!

I cleared my throat, forcing the butterflies to dissipate. And as my eyes dropped to the floor, to save me from staring into his again, I noticed he was holding a bag. It was brown and large, like the kind you get from those expensive stores downtown.

He got her a gift?! He’s so thoughtful. I love thoughtfuland gifts! I love gifts!

“Is that for Camilla?” I asked, my excitement for her sending my hand straight for the bag. “Can I see?”

He moved it behind him, where I couldn’t reach. “I don’t think she wants you in her stuff.”

“She won’t mind,” I said confidently. “We’re best friends.”

We would be best friends soon. Claiming it now was just practice for the very near future, but he didn’t seem convinced.

“It’s true!” I said. “I know her better than anyone, like…”

I searched for the best example, something that would blow him away, something that would even help Camilla too!

“How there’s this guy in one of the downstairs apartments who’s always complimenting her when she’s walking through the parking lot. She ignores him every time because she only has eyes for you.”

That got me another glimpse of his beautiful smile.

“Real shit?” he said.

Oh my gosh, it worked! I can’t just stop here!

“Yeah! Even that other guy she talks to on the—”

“Hey,” she said, walking over to him, wrapping her arms around his neck as they shared a brief kiss. “Did you call or text or something? I didn’t see anything on my phone.”

Her new outfit was similar to the one she was wearing before, like in the same category, but different. The shorts had been traded in for leggings, the baggy t-shirt for a form fitting crop top, and her glasses were nowhere in sight. Her hair was kind of different too, draping over her shoulder instead of tucked away, and her lips were glossy, like she had just applied a layer or two of her favorite strawberry lip gloss. These changes were small, but gave her an entirely new look.

She’s so talented.

“Nah, I didn’t,” he said, holding up the bag. “But I got you something.”

He was always getting her something. Every few days she was coming home with bags, or flowers, or chocolates—or bags, flowers, and chocolates.

He’s such a romantic.

She grabbed it, ripping out the tissue paper, going through the bag at the speed of a kid on Winterfest morning.

Whatever was inside must’ve been on her wish-list because with the biggest smile, she said, “Aww, thank you.” Then pulled him in for another hug. “I love it.” Followed by a kiss that made me wonder if I should’ve left the room.

But I couldn’t leave, not while this real life love story was playing out right in front of me!

I loved this stuff, and spent most of my nights devouring book after book, losing myself in their worlds, imagining I was the princess who had caught the eye of the tall, handsome knight. Our love would be forbidden, according to the rules of the kingdom, but he would do whatever—even travel across dangerous seas just to be with me. He would be considerate of my feelings and know all the right things to say, he would love romance just like me, and show his affection with words, and flowers, and chocolates—especially chocolates. Camilla and Amir were just like the characters I had been reading about my whole life. I was not missing this show!

“Go put it on,” he said. “So I can take you out.”

She clutched the bag, still wearing that smile that had been there since she looked inside. “Where are we going?”

“You’ll see when we get there.”

He’s so assertive!

She handed him the bag, taking his free hand. “Okay, but you have to help me get dressed.”

And he smiled as she led him and his handsomeness back to her room. “I can do that.”

And out of my view.


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Episode 8: Fate and Stuff – Part 2

Salim and Cassandra have a conversation about his ‘friendship’ with Camilla.

Salim

I wouldn’t consider myself superstitious, or the type to subscribe to ideas that paint the narrative of us not being in control. I like to think we have autonomy, free will—that kind of thing, and that the outcomes in our lives are dependent on our own personal choices and their corresponding actions. The events of this past week, though, had me questioning my entire belief system.

It started a few days ago, when I texted Camilla to see if she was free. I was used to the noes by that point, but I’m pretty optimistic by nature, so the motivation to get a redo for the sour ending of our breakfast date, wasn’t too hard to come by.

She responded pretty quickly, saying she was home, drawing—which I took to be a good sign because she’s only creative when she’s happy and happy was the mood I was looking for—but could use a change of scenery. So I grabbed my keys and rushed out the door, but when I tried to leave, my car wouldn’t start. My gently used, properly maintained car wouldn’t start. Turns out, the battery had died overnight, so I called to let her know I’d be late, which she was fine with it, but by the time I got it taken care of, she was babysitting for her friend and couldn’t get out again.

The next incident happened at work. I was wrapping up a meeting with one of the editors when I noticed her in the hall. She was near the mailboxes, finishing up her deliveries, so I grabbed my things and headed out the door, hoping to catch her before she reached the elevator. I called her name just as she was walking away, but when she turned around and took a step forward in my direction, the fire alarm went off, and we were ushered out the building. I searched around the sidewalk, trying to spot her in the crowd, but she was as good as gone.

Having this conversation in person wasn’t working out for me, so I settled for a phone call as a last resort, but dialing her number returned a call failed message. So as a last, last resort, I tried sending a text, but that failed too. An hour and a Simoogle search later, I found out there was an outage in my area that lasted through the night—bringing us to today.

Today was going to be the day. No matter what. I was making it happen. On the elevator, in the parking lot, in the middle of the mailroom for all I cared—as long as I got to tell her how I felt, I would’ve considered this mission accomplished.

I grabbed a table at the ‘burrito place’ where she, I mean they—Cassandra was tagging along—were meeting me for lunch. I was hoping to get her alone, but with as close as the two of them were, always in each other’s phones, whispering and snickering about everything, I figured doing this in front of both of them just saved an inevitable step.

I was so ready to finally have her consider me as more than just a friend, but when I looked straight ahead, and saw Cassandra heading my way without her best friend by her side, I couldn’t help but feel like there were outside forces at play here.

I leaped from the table, the fear of losing out on yet another opportunity flinging me down the sidewalk. “Where’s Camilla?”

She zipped past me with her face glued to her phone. “Still at the office.”

Still at the office?

I swallowed hard as my heart sank twenty feet into my stomach, terror growing inside as I followed quickly on her heels. “She’s not coming?”

“Nope,” she said, sitting down at the table, casually scrolling through her phone; oblivious to the fact that she was crushing my dreams. “She was late this morning, so Dungeon Lady’s making her work through lunch.”

Work through lunch…

Camilla being stuck sorting mail with her overbearing boss seemed like a bad thing, but maybe it wasn’t? Maybe it was my chance to get ahead of the game; to find out what she was thinking and how she was feeling—in other words, for me to get to work.

And what better way to get a job well done than a talk with her friend who was way too into her phone to know she was being interviewed?

I got back in my seat, warming her up with a little small talk. “You’re not eating?” I pointed at the empty space on the table in front of her.

“No, I had a big breakfast,” she said. “I just came ’cause Camilla was all worried about you having to eat by yourself. You know how she is.”

“Yeah, I do.” I smiled. That’s one of the things I like about her. “I bet she’s not happy having to stay behind, though; not being able to eat and all.”

“She’s fine.” She dismissed my faux concern. “She got good news today, so I don’t see anything messing that up.”

Good news equals good mood. So far, so good. I wonder what happened, though?

I pried a little more, trying to gauge Camilla’s ranking on the happiness meter, and get a few details in the process. “Something worth celebrating?”

She snickered like this ‘celebration’ may have been different from what I had in mind. “I’m sure she did that already.”

But I chalked it up to some inside joke between them and moved on.

“So then she’s probably free later today, right?”

“Maybe…” Her eyes rose slowly above her phone. “Why?”

The arching of her eyebrows and the sudden ability to look away from her screen let me know my cover was blown.

”Y’all hang out all the time, so why are you asking me about her schedule?” Her suspicion intensified. “Are you tryna ask her out or something?”

I could’ve played it off like I wasn’t, and bought myself some extra time to continue my research, but I’m not a fan of lies when the evidence proved otherwise, so I told the truth instead. “That’s the plan.”

I thought she would’ve appreciated the honesty, but when she said, “Salim, no. You can’t.” With an unexpected amount of concern in her voice, I knew we were on different pages, which I would’ve understood, expected even, had this been two years ago when we first met, and bad impressions were left on both our sides.

It started in the lobby, sometime in the afternoon, when she and I just happened to be passing through at the same time. She was headed to the mailroom, probably coming back from lunch, judging by the to-go cup in her hand, and I was on my way to my third meeting of the day.

Aahana, my wife at the time, surprised me at the door; angry that all fifty-seven of her calls had gone straight to voicemail. Our marriage, at that point, was in the worst state it’s ever been, and her slicing my tires after a very public shouting match was proof enough to anyone who witnessed it.

Cassandra though, was the only person who witnessed it.

So once word got out around the office, it didn’t take long for me to connect the dots, and write her off as a big mouth gossiper, and for her to label me as someone who says unforgivable things to his wife when he’s mad.

But I thought we moved past all that when Camilla came on board, and we actually got to know each other, so hearing her express so much disapproval toward the idea of me dating her friend, after all this time, stung a little.

I managed to find a laugh in the wound her response left. “Damn Cassandra, I thought you would’ve had my back.”

“You know I do.” Her expression softened. “Which is exactly why I’m saying this.”

So if she wasn’t still stuck on old misconceptions about me, what was it? Why couldn’t I ask Camilla out?

“Can you at least tell me why, then?”

Her eyes lowered to the table like she was about to deliver the worst news possible. “She’s seeing someone.”

And it was the worst news possible.

“She’s seeing someone?”

I wished I was dealing with a case of ‘overprotective friend’ because that was fixable with a conversation of some sort, but this? This… didn’t make sense to me, not based on what I saw. It did explain her limited free time outside of work, though, and why our phone calls were interrupted so often, but the signs, the vibes, everything else I got from her was saying the opposite, and I was sure I was reading her right. I wouldn’t have taken this step if I wasn’t.

And if this was the case—that she’s involved with someone—why wouldn’t she say anything? It’s not like a relationship is the kind of thing she’d forget about, nor is it something she’d hide, especially when she’s so forthcoming about everything else.

“Yeah… it’s… new… kinda…”

Unless she had a reason to? Something that was more than what it seemed, something kind of… complicated, maybe even like… having secret feelings for the person she’s not with.

“So don’t, Salim, it’ll just mess things up for her— y’all. I meant y’all— like y’all being friends and stuff.”

It’ll mess things up for her?

She tried to take it back, but her correction wasn’t quick enough; and this line about messing things up for Camilla—and only Camilla—sounded a lot like my earlier thought may have had some merit to it.

Our friendship was solid enough to withstand most conversations, I was sure of it, but me expressing my feelings, and her sharing them too at a time when she probably shouldn’t, I could see how that would cause a problem.

So I nodded in agreement, disappointed, but ultimately okay with her request, because as much as I wanted Camilla, I wanted her to be happy and stress-free too.

Cassandra smiled, seemingly relieved that I wasn’t a troublemaker. “For the friendship, okay?”

Besides, the future’s not set in stone…

“For the friendship.”


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!


Coachella 2022

The girls head out to participate in the Simblr Coachella event.

One thing I really love about the Simblr (Sims community on Tumblr) community are the events put together by simmers. It’s so fun to see everyone come together, and share their own creative spin on another’s idea.

I’m always late to the party, lol, so I don’t do a whole lot of these, but the Coachella event just happened to come around when I had some downtime. In the story’s universe, I’m 105% positive going to this was Cassandra’s idea. Jesminder loves a good girls’ night (and a good drink) so she was on board from the jump. Camilla, though, needed some convincing that one night away from Amir wouldn’t kill her (since she’s neck-deep in the honeymoon phase of their new relationship) but in the end, they had a great night.


Y’all know I love sharing the goodies I find, so below are a few links to the things they’re wearing:

Jesminder’s Look:

hair / earrings / necklace / top / bottoms / nails

Camilla’s Look:

hair / top / bottoms / nails / iphone

Cassandra’s Look:

hair + ombre accessory / earrings / necklace / nose ring / top (by babytears but I can’t find it!)/ bottoms / nails

If you’d like to see other simmers’ looks and performances, check out the #coachellecollective2022 tag on Tumblr.


Don’t forget to subscribe (if you’re not already) so you don’t miss the next post!

Episode 8: Fate and Stuff – Part 1

The morning after their date, Camilla and Amir discuss their relationship… well, sort of…

Waking up this morning was so… odd… like, my head was full, overflowing really, with everything from thoughts to questions, and maybe even regrets about last night. The things I was thinking mixed with the stuff I was feeling was… a lot and hitting me all at once, making them hard to ignore and even harder to sleep through.

Not this again…

The last time my streak of peaceful slumber got torpedoed like this was a few months ago, after ‘the break-up’, when I was only getting three hours a night—if I was lucky. According to the SimTube videos I binged at the time, what I was going through was something like grief or mourning or whatever, but not having the answers I wanted hit me harder than any of that. Those stressed-out-borderline-depressed-zombie days were some of the worst I’ve ever experienced, and if I wanted to steer clear of them—even for a day—I needed to get the answer to the question that was keeping me up.

So I rolled over, facing the other side of the bed, and with one short-lived jolt of adrenaline coursing through me, tapped Amir to wake him up. But, when his arm twitched and his eyelids did that pre-wake up fluttery thing, the courage that sent my fingers traipsing across his pillow abandoned me, and I did the same to my plan.

By the time he was fully awake, I was lying back down, eye squeezed tight as hell, like I had been there, sleeping the entire time.

I kept up this façade until I heard him leave the bed, his footsteps heading toward the door—the door where Pandora was most likely lurking on the other side, waiting for me to come out.

With the terrifying image of him running into her and her blatant disrespect for personal space dominating my mind, I crawled across the bed, quickly—maybe more like frantically. “Wait!” Trying to stop him before he did something I couldn’t undo. “Where are you going?”

He paused, turning around, slowly. “To the bathroom?” he said, his expression, suspicious, like my panicky response to him leaving the room was over-the-top or something.

“You can’t.” I scurried past him, replacing the chair that was barricading the door with my body. “Not till my roommate leaves.”

Watching me physically block his exit must’ve been weird for him because he said, “I can’t pee… till… your roommate leaves?”

Well, when you say it like that…

“No,” I said. “But it won’t take her long. She’s never late. Ever.” Then motioned toward the bed. “So just… relax or something. It won’t be that long.”

Once he was back on the other side of the room, I cracked the door just enough to assess the situation. She wasn’t in the hall like I thought, but the rustling sounds in the living room let me know she was out there, somewhere, and knowing her, ready to attack at any given moment.

Not today, Pandora.

I eased the door closed and placed the chair back under the knob, just in case she tried to invite herself in again.

I really need to get that lock, especially for when I have company.

Speaking of which…

Over on the bed, he was sitting, watching me, probably full of questions just like I was. The context of these questions was different, I’m sure, but his face made it clear he had some things he wanted to say. This moment was perfect for that conversation—the one I wanted to have earlier—but as soon as I got close to him, I chickened out again.

Damn.

I don’t know why this was so hard, or why I couldn’t just ask him how he felt about me. I know if he had been anyone else—except Salim, that’s different—we would’ve settled this the other day when he started with the ‘boyfriend talk’, but things are just so— he’s just so… hard to figure out sometimes.

I mean, he’s calculating, for sure; always plotting things, trying to make them go his way. Even with last night, him making the move he did—getting me to bring him home—that meant he knew what outcome he was getting. So if being here, in my apartment, in my bed, wasn’t enough to convince him to say something—anything about us, I guess I wasn’t sure if what he wanted was the same thing I did.

He stretched an arm out toward me. “Tell me why we’re hiding from your roommate again.”

And with my hand in his, I followed his lead. “We’re not hiding,” I said, sliding down on his lap. “We’re just… making sure she doesn’t see us.”

He chuckled in a that-doesn’t-make-sense kind of way. “That’s not the same thing?”

“Nope.” I shook my head, ignoring the skepticism on his face. “Completely different.”

“So what’s gonna happen if she does know?”

Aside from all the assumptions she’ll make and the fifty-thousand questions she’ll ask to confirm said assumptions?

“She’ll know there’s a half-naked Amir in my bed.”

He grinned like a teenaged boy detailing the events of a night alone with his girlfriend. “Well, you didn’t hold the headboard like I told you to, so I’m sure she knows there’s a half-naked somebody in here.”

“Shut up.” I slapped his arm, fighting back the smile that was trying to escape, his stupid little joke getting the best of me. “You’re always on some unnecessary commentary.”

“Unnecessary commentary?” His eyebrow rose as he squeezed me tight, his hands going from an innocent hug to a full-blown attack on my sides!

No! Please not the tickling! I can’t handle the tickling!

I fell over on the bed, screeching so loud I just knew Pandora was on her way with a pot and paper plate ready to demolish my attacker.

His fingers followed me, expanding their torture to my legs and thighs. “You still think it’s unnecessary?” He demanded an answer, his laughs just as loud as mine.

I wanted to say no ‘cause he’s always using his… tactics to get me to say what he wants, but if I laughed any harder, I risked my insides bursting.

And I couldn’t have my insides bursting.

So I surrendered.

“Okay! Okaaay!” I said with my hands up, painful giggles making me curl up underneath him. “I take it back! I’m sorry! Okay?”

He smiled at my defeat. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”


His fingers weren’t moving anymore, but he was still over me, his triumphant smile fading away. There was something on his mind; I could tell by the way his eyes wandered, almost as if his thoughts were written across the bed, and he was reading them for clarity.

He looked at me, finally, his fingers wrapping themselves around mine. “So we done wi—”

But whatever he was about to say was interrupted by a predictable. ass. knock. at the door.

Pandora. Right on time as usual.

“Camilla?” She pounded on the door, concern all in her voice. “Is everything okay? I thought I heard something.”

She didn’t wait for my answer, of course, that would’ve be too much to expect of Pandora, instead, she did exactly what I thought she would, and jiggled the doorknob, demanding a response like she was my mom or something. “Is somebody in there? I wanna meet him!”

And that’s why there’s a chair under the knob.

I placed a finger to Amir’s lips, reminding him to stay quiet. “I’m fine,” I said, swallowing my annoyance. “I was just…”

Losing my train of thought ‘cause his tongue was sliding slowly down that finger that was supposed to keep him quiet, and I was about to—

“What?” She rattled the knob again, the intensity a little more aggressive than before. “You were just what?”

“Watching a video!” I shouted the first thing that came to mind, shoving him for distracting me.

“Oh, a video?” she said, her tone, weirdly intrigued. “What’s it about? Can I see?” The doorknob jiggled some more. “I think something’s wrong with your door. Do you want me to call the landlord?”

Are you fucking serious?

“Nothing’s wrong with the door, Pandora,” I said through gritted teeth. “I’m getting dressed. I’ll be out in a minute.”

She let go of the knob. “Okay…” And after a few seconds of what I could only assume was contemplation, backed away from the door, her super heavy footsteps echoing down the hall.


I took my hand off Amir’s mouth, revealing the smile that had been there since his finger-licking stunt.

At least one of us finds her amusing.

He lifted up, sitting next to me on the bed. “So that’s why you tryna keep us secret, huh?”

That’s one reason, but the other—not knowing exactly how to introduce him to her nosy ass—had a lot more influence over that decision, and it had nothing to do with her opinion.

I wasn’t going to say that to him though, so I just agreed with what he said.

He nodded like he understood where I was coming from. Maybe he had his own crazy roommate to deal with too?

“Alright, then next time we’ll go to my spot.”

Maybe not.

Wait— next time?

“Next time meaning… what?”

I asked, but I was pretty sure ‘next time’ meant our standard hookups, until he said, “When we go out, where we stay at afterwards. We done with hotels and shit, alright?”

We’re done with hotels?

Now, I knew there was a question mark somewhere in that sentence, but the way he said it sounded more like a statement than a request. And even though it seemed like we were right on the cusp of that conversation I wanted to have, I couldn’t have him thinking he could tell me what to do—not without a fight anyway—so naturally, I said, “Says who?”

Feelings and stuff could wait.

I was fully prepared for him to pin me down and do whatever until I agreed to this new arrangement, but he didn’t. Instead, he pulled me up, springing my body forward, putting us face-to-face.

The sudden change of position, combined with the way he was holding my arm, and looking me in the eyes, had me nervous—but not the jump-out-of-your-skin kind of nervous—more like the one that makes your heart beat fast and your breaths kind of shallow ‘cause even though you don’t know what to expect, you’re excited to find out? That kind.

He lifted my chin, and after staring me down for what felt like forever, he said, “Unless we out of town, I’m not meeting my girl in no hotel room, alright?”

His girl?

Okay… so… his delivery wasn’t it, but I think it’s safe to say he answered my question.

“Alright.”


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!


Go Out Or Stay In?

Impromptu photo shoot of Camilla and Amir in one of Sulani’s beautiful beach hotels.

I came across two pose packs, Purr by afrosimtricsims (early access until 6/6/22) and YOLO by dearkims and had put them to use.

Whenever Camilla and Amir are together, they’re always tempted to skip all their plans and stay in. I imagine it would be no different on the beautiful beaches of Sulani.

Camilla’s hair + outfit

As always, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next post!


Episode 7: Boundaries and Stuff – Part 5

Camilla and Amir’s date continues, this time from Camilla’s POV.

Switching up on me. That’s what I wanted to say. But if I did, I knew he’d play dumb—just like he always did. So I let it go, and moved on to saucing the pizza. At least with that, I knew exactly what I was getting. Unlike him, and this wishy-washy stuff he’s been on lately.

Especially this past week.

Take the other day, for example.

We were in bed, at the hotel, and like mid stroke, he asked what I was doing when I missed his call earlier, and why it took so long to call him back. That part wasn’t new, though—he’s always in my business, especially when he thinks I’m too compromised to deny him access—so I said, “You’re not my boyfriend, Amir.” Like I always do, but then he stopped, and in this tone that was almost offended-like, he said, “So that’s how you feel?” And it threw me off because that part was new. So I said the first thing that came to mind which was, “Is that not how you feel?” But then he got all quiet in his I-don’t-want-to-answer-your-question way—and went back to stroking like we weren’t in the middle of a conversation that he started!

And I would’ve let that go had this been his standard flavor of nosiness, but this was different, part of his new MO where he baits me into these conversations that question what we are, then backs down whenever it’s time to elaborate on what he means.

This whole thing was just… annoying and frustrating, and I just wanted him to say it—what he meant or at least how he felt— ‘cause I had a feeling… that whatever it is… it’s the same thing I’ve been feeling too.

So later that night, when he texted, asking if I was thinking about him, I made another still-not-my-boyfriend comment to see if he’d get the hint. And when his response was a request to take me out again, I thought it worked, and if I gave him the chance, he would finally say something real, but clearly I was wrong.


I grabbed two handfuls of cheese and dumped them on the pizza, followed by those tomatoes he’d finally finished slicing.

At least he did one thing right tonight.

He watched as I tossed them around, letting them fall where they wanted, regardless of where, the floor included. When I grabbed the chicken pieces and sent them flying in a similar fashion, he took the bowl from me.

“You keep this up.” He chuckled a little. “Somebody’s gonna end up with chicken and cheese and shit in their hair.”

Nobody asked for your commentary.

The chef’s assistant clapped his hands, instructing everyone to head over to the baking station. I wasn’t done topping the pizza yet, though, so I tried to get the bowl back, but he kept it away from me, adding on to his ever-growing list of tonight’s infractions— No, make that this week’s infractions.

I hate him so much.

He must’ve caught wind of my annoyance because his trademarked smirk was gone, and his tone was kind of serious—kind of like a person who wanted to have a real conversation, but I knew better than that.

But I did want my bowl back and he knew it. So the more I reached for it, the further he pushed it away.

“Camilla, look.” He followed my movements, trying to trick me into making eye contact with him.

Nope. Not falling for that again.

“What?” I kept my eyes on the bowl, reaching past him to grab it.

He blocked my attempt with his arm. “Keep doing what?”

I slapped it away, damn near at my wits’ end with his cryptic ass questions and this childish ass hand game. “What are you talking about?”

He paused, and while he thought about, whatever he was thinking about, I made another grab for the bowl, but this time, he got a hold of my hands, and within the span of like five milliseconds, I made the mistake of looking up, and got caught right in his trap.

Stay strong, Camilla…

With our eyes locked, and the backs of my hands being traced by his fingertips, my body turned into a breeding ground for goose bumps.

Stay strong, Camilla…

And as his smirk returned, my whole reason for being mad slipped away from me at an alarming rate.

Camilla… girl…

Once our fingers interlocked, he rose our hands to his mouth. “A minute ago, you said I keep doing something.” And painted slow brushstrokes with his lips against the back of mine; his gaze, never wavering. “What I’m doing?”

He knew exactly what he was doing—the looks, the hand-holding, the thing with his lips—making me feel stuff that at one time, only made me take my clothes off, but lately’s, been making me feel… different, you know, like how it feels coming off a roller coaster when you’re lightheaded, and your stomach’s all upside down, and it’s weird, but you kind of want more of it?

And it was working.

‘Cause I kind of wanted more of it, but that would require something he refused to do.

So, I snatched my hands away, breaking eye contact, so he couldn’t distract me with his stupid, sexy demon powers anymore. The pizza would survive with minimal toppings.


The class was encouraged to mingle while the oven timers kept track of our pizzas. Amir and I started out like most of the other ‘couples’, in the middle of the floor, engaged in conversations we had no real interest in. But because of that last stunt he pulled, I slipped away when he wasn’t looking, trying to keep us apart until I figured out what to do—without his interference.

When he realized I was gone, which didn’t take long, by the way, he tried to get back to me, but this one, rather thirsty woman, cornered him against the wall, forcing him to endure her shameless ass flirting instead.

Didn’t she come here with someone?

The way she was in his face, smiling, twirling her hair—I couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling.

Pathetic.

At least I got what I wanted, though, space from him to think…

With me… on one side of the room… and him… on another… with her…

Is that what I wanted, though?

A flashback of him playing dodgeball with my questions gave me the answer I needed.

It is. It is what I wanted.

But watching her over there—all in his personal space, with her hand on her chest; her obnoxious ass laugh assaulting my eardrums—made it hard to concentrate on anything else.

Wait… is he really stuck over there or… does he want to be over there?

And just when I thought her behavior couldn’t get any more desperate, it did—but fortunately, a text came through, giving me a much-needed break from the gagfest taking place in front of me.

I looked down at my phone, swiping to my messages to reveal the identity of my savior.

Oh, it’s just Salim.

Oh, it’s just Salim? When did he become just Salim?

Our calls, our hangouts, were like the highlight of my days. The fun we have together is something I always look forward to. Our talks, our back-and-forths, our friendship… our friendship

I guess we really were just friends… ‘Cause if he wanted more, he would’ve said something by now… right? It’s not like he hasn’t had the chance. I mean, we have lunch together, nearly every day, and we talk just as often; that one morning we had breakfast at that fusion place, he could’ve said something then too, but he didn’t, so maybe he’s good with things being this way… And I guess… that means… I’m good with it too.


The rest of the night’s events took place in the dining room. The soft candlelight, food, and fresh cut roses placed in each of the private booths were textbook elements of a romantic dinner—but I wasn’t feeling none of it.

So I ate my food in silence; counting down the minutes until this thing was over, and I could go home and away from him.

I’m guessing my cold shoulder was too much for him because just five minutes in, he said, “Why you being so quiet with me?”

Why I’m being so quiet with you?

It took everything for me not to recount each and every smile, wink, and giggle he stood over there soaking up from Miss Desperation, but I didn’t.

I just gave him a taste of my own brand of selective memory instead. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

But because he’s Amir, instead of taking my denial for what it was, he took it as an invitation to slide up in my seat. “Ahh, so you’re not talking to me then?”

Once again, trying to work his magic to get himself out of trouble.

Definitely not falling for that again.

So I moved over, recreating the distance I intentionally put between us. “Why do you care?” I asked, looking as far away from him as the small seating space allowed. “Don’t you have someone else you rather be talking t—”

Shit.

I didn’t mean to say that. Not out loud. And definitely not to him. The last thing I needed was him thinking I was jealous— ‘cause I wasn’t. For real. I didn’t even care that he was talking to her. It was just… principle, ‘cause we came together and— I wasn’t jealous, okay?

But the damage was done already, as made evident by his stupid ass grin.

He slid back into my seat, this time with an arm resting on my side of the booth; his eyes roaming over my face, examining it, like it was the headliner of one of those exotic exhibits at the zoo. “So this what you look like when you’re jealous, huh?”

See, this is exactly what I was trying to avoid!

“No!” I gave him one hard shove for even allowing that thought to cross his mind.

He rubbed the spot on his chest where my fist left its mark, laughing victoriously— No, maniacally, like he was winning some devious game, one where the objective was to get a rise out of me… in more ways than one.

I hate him so fucking much.

Before I could react, his arm dropped, and in one swift move, he pulled me closer—the closest I could possibly get.

“You wanna know what we was talking ‘bout?” he whispered in my ear; the mere notion of his mouth being that close to me, sending tingles racing down my spine.

How is it that even when I’m pissed at him, he STILL has this effect on me?

I tugged at his arm, pushing and pulling, trying not to fall victim to another one of his spells.

“No?” I replied to his stupid question.

But struggling only made his grip tighten.

“You sure?”

And encouraged him to make his next move even bolder than his last.

“Positive.”

So I gave up. Temporarily. Which I’m sure is exactly what he wanted.


Giving up wasn’t the same as giving in, though—not in this case—but with his lips trailing slowly down my neck, and his hands in places I should’ve been too mad to want them, it was getting real hard to tell the difference.

Damn… I am falling for this again.

He traveled back up to my ear, whispering against it, the soft air that accompanied his words, setting off tiny batches of fireworks that started somewhere in my belly, but ended up where his fingers were. “So you don’t wanna hear what she said ‘bout this girl I’ve been kinda seeing?”

This girl he’s been kinda seeing? Yeah, okay.

I suppressed the moan that was fighting to escape long enough to play along. “What did she say?”

“I told her I be thinking ‘bout her all the time,” he said. “So she said I should tell her.”

Sounds like “she” knows what she’s talking about.

My eyes fluttered shut as my head titled back, giving him more access. “Why don’t you?”

He took advantage of it, sending his tongue on its own exploratory mission, braking only to answer my question. “‘Cause I don’t know if she feels the same way.”

“But what if she does?” I said, way quicker than I’d like to admit.

He laughed a little. I guess he noticed it too.

“That’s what she said.” He paused again. “So I told her we have all these things between us like, rules and shit that keep people apart.”

Okay, horny or not, I could see where this was going.

My eyes popped open and my head titled forward, just as he was making his way back up, putting us face-to-face. “And what did she say about that?”

“She said I should ask her to let me take her home.”

Let him take me home? Like, to my apartment where I live? I don’t—

He kissed me.

Before I could really analyze that thought, or weigh the pros and cons, his lips were on mine, and my hands were in his hair, and my legs were trembling, and— I really wanted to go home.

I backed away, just a little. “But what if her roommate’s home?”

He smiled in that sneaky way he does. “She told me to make sure I’m quiet.”


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!


Must-Have Mods for Sims 4 City Living

Some of the best mods for the City Living expansion pack. With things like custom elevators, gaming enhancements and improvements, along with fixes for all kinds of annoyances, there’s something in here for all players!

City Living, by far, is one of my most favorite packs–easily top five for sure–but just like many other Sims 4 packs, it could use a few tweaks here and there to make the gameplay experience more enjoyable. If you share the same sentiment, keep reading for some of the most interesting mods for the Sims 4 City Living.

Beginners: If you’re new to installing custom content, check out this step-by-step guide.

While researching the mods for this post, I checked to make sure they were still working and being maintained by the creator, but the status could change at any time. Before downloading any mods, be sure to read the full download post and follow all directions specified by the creator. Mods tend to “break” after patches, so always check the creator’s website for updates.

Navigation:

General Gameplay Improvements
Gaming Enhancements
Autonomy and Other Annoyances
Food, Grocery and Market Stalls
Bug Fixes
Festivals and Sales Tables
Elevators (Mods and Custom Elevators)
Visual and Audio Effects
Outfits
Neighborhood Changes


** Links are embedded in the mod’s title **

General Gameplay Improvements

Carryable Performance Stage plus Sing Songs! by littlemssam

Overrides the performance stage so that sims can place them in their inventory and perform wherever they want.

Visible Political Position Trait by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “visiblepoliticalpositiontrait”

Makes sims’ political position a visible trait in the Simology Panel.

More Followers Resolution for Everyone by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “morefollowersresolutionforeveryone”

Unlocks the “more followers” New Year’s Resolution for sims who are not in the social media career.

Wooden Instruments Disabled by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “woodeninstrumentsdisabled”

Disables the wooden guitar and violin from being used autonomously by sims at the performance stage.

Call and Visit Tweak by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “callandvisittweak”

Offers a higher chance for sims to get invited to opera and karaoke events. Whether or not your sim is invited to city festivals will now be determined by your sim’s mood and preference.

Barfly Karaoke by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “barflykaraoke”

Sims will autonomously sing karaoke at regular bars (if a karaoke machine is present) and their behavior will be more appropriate for the venue.

Gaming Enhancements

Longer Basketball Games by littlemssam

Adds new options to the basketball hoop pie menu for 6 and 9 round basketball and dunk competitions. The original is 3 rounds.

Online Gaming with “Headsets” by littlemssam

Applies a headset to sims playing games online.

Livestream For Everyone Videoconsole by littlemssam

Unlocks the “live stream” interaction on the gaming console for everyone.

Shorter Console Games by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “shorterconsolegames”

Shortens the duration of the online gaming sessions on the console, making it possible for sims to squeeze in a quick game before work or school.

Console Yourself by RVSN

A smaller gaming mat for sims living in not-so-large spaces.

Autonomy and Other Annoyances

No Bubble Blower or Talking Toilet Reactions! by simmytime

Prevents sims from autonomously reacting to bubble blowers and talking toilets.

Less Bubble Blower Coughing by lazarusinashes

Reduces the chance of failure when using the bubble blower.

Watch Speech Tweak by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “watchspeechtweak”

Increases the probability of sims autonomously listening to a speech given at the podium in Uptown.

Food, Grocery and Market Stalls

No Yelling Vendors by lotharihoe

Removes the “show off” interaction from market stalls, cafeteria stations, and craft sales table vendors.

Cook Experimental/Cultural/Jungle Food Without Tasting It First by claudiasharon

Reading these books will allow sims to prepare experimental, cultural, and jungle recipes without having to taste them first.

Cookbooks by littlemssam

Just like the mod above, allows sims to prepare experimental, cultural, and jungle recipes without having to taste them first.

City Living Food Retexture by UtopiaSims

Re-textures all City Living recipes making them visually appealing.

Spice Market – Chili, Curry, Saffron & Wasabi buyable by littlemssam

Makes the City Living spices: chili, curry, saffron, and wasabi purchasable on the PC.


For more food related mods, check out:


Better Quality Food MarketStalls by littlemssam

Food purchased at the market stalls will now be excellent quality.

Market Stalls | Toddler Can Order & More Food Options by littlemssam

Allows toddlers to purchase food from market stalls. Super useful for taking the family out to enjoy San Myshuno’s festivals.


Need family activity inspo for your gameplay families? Check out:


More Grocery Shopping by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “moregroceryshopping”

Adds vegetables, herbs, and other produce that should’ve been included in the produce stalls in San Myshuno.

City Life Ice Snacker by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “citylifeicesnacker”

Randomly generates townies eating ice cream in San Myshuno. Useful if you like having a little variety in the sims walking around town.

Less NPC Market Stall Orders by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “lessNPCmarketstallorders”

NPCs will order food from market stalls less often, leaving room for your sims to place their order and receive their food in a timely fashion.

Bug Fixes

Landlord Text Fix by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “landlordtextfix”

The landlord will no longer tell sims not to call him when he wasn’t needed, during visits where he was actually needed.

Karaoke Duet Filter Fix by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “karaokeduetfilterfix”

Fixes the bug that causes sims to be missing from the karaoke sim picker.

Festivals and Sales Tables

Sell More Self-Made Woodwork at the Flea Market by littlemssam

Allows more woodwork to be sold at the flea market. Items include: garden plant box, garden pot, toilet, bathtub, etc…

Flea Market Appears Every Sunday by littlemssam

Allows the Flea Market to spawn every Sunday. Comes in handy for starving artists and other sims who could benefit from a few extra sales a week.


For gameplay ideas, a few incorporating the Flea Market:


Craft Sale Table Fix by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “craftsalestablefix” or “craftsalestablefix_version2”

Fixes the bug that prevents sold items from disappearing from the sales table.

Thirst Tweak_Festival Tea by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “thirsttweak_festivaltea”

When sims drink Sakura tea at the Romance Festival, they’ll receive an energy boost that should help them stay awake and at the festival longer.

Stop Those Annoying Festival Notifications! by claudiasharon

Disables the notifications for City Living and Snowy Escape festivals.

No Festival Notification by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nofestivalnotifications”

Just like the mod above, disables the festival notifications for both City Living and Snowy Escape.

No Festival Notification Sound by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “NoFestivalNotificationSound”

Removes the sound from the festivals notifications for both City Living and Snowy Escape.

No Rain During Festivals by lotharihoe

Prevents rainy weather from ruining festivals.

Market Science Retail Stands by RVSN

Custom market stalls and displays that allow sims to sell everything!

Elevators (Mods and Custom Elevators)

Elevator Fix for Toddler & Pets by littlemssam

Allows toddlers and pets to properly use elevators in apartments.

Tiny Elevators For Pets by littlemssam

Custom elevators perfectly sized for pets.

WEE Working Elevators Everywhere by littlemssam

Custom elevators that can be placed anywhere!

Uplifting Elevators by RVSN

Another custom elevator that can be placed on any lot. Including homes!

Visual and Audio Effects

Keyboard Piano Sounds by littlemssam

Changes the keyboard sounds to match the piano’s.

Lot Trait Effects Hider by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “lottraiteffectshider” or “lottraiteffectshiderv2”

Disables lot trait effects, ie: the little light bulbs and plus signs that float over sims’ heads when benefiting from lot traits.

No Karaoke Effects by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nokaraokeeffects”

Disables the visual effects cased by singing karaoke.

No Festival Call To Action by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nofestival_calltoaction”

Removes the orange highlights around computers, curry, and tea fountains at festivals.

No Festival Tea Glow by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nofestivalteaglow”

Disables the glow sims emit after drinking tea from festivals.

No Mural Decay by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nomuraldecay”

Prevents street murals from decaying.

Outfits

Less Random Hats and Accessories by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “lessrandomhatsandaccessories”

Tones down some of the… interesting outfits that sims tend to spawn in. This mod technically isn’t related the City Living, but it takes care of City Living’s accessories too, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

Situations Outfits Be Gone by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “situationoutfitsbegone”

Tones down the outfits sims tend to spawn for City Living festivals.

Wear Costume Tweak by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “wearcostumetweak”

Enables a user-directed interaction for sims to wear costumes when attending the Geek Con and Romance festivals, Spooky and Costume parties, as well as bar nights and acting gigs

Neighborhood Changes

Sim Spawn Overhaul by lotharihoe

Completely overhaul’s the walkby system. If seeing Nancy Langraab hanging out in San Myshuno, Willow Creek, and Sulani every. single. day is too much for you, give this mod a try.

BG-Walkby Overhaul by zero

Just like the mod above, completely overhaul’s the walkby system and attempts to keep sims in their home neighborhood.

Keep Sims in their Home Region by kuttoe

Same as the other mods above.


And that’s all for now. I hope you find these mods useful!

-India


For more pack related mods check out the links below:

Must-Have Mods for Sims 4 Parenthood
Must-Have Mods for Sims 4 Seasons
Must-Have Mods for Sims 4 Cottage Living


Or enter your email address in the box below to stay up-to-date on everything here:



My Sims’ CC

My go-to CC resources that allow me to achieve the look of my sims seen in my stories.

Updated 5/9/2022

I’m the kind of girl who finds what she likes and sticks with it for as long as humanly possible. I rarely get bored with my defaults or feel the need to swap out presets, or sliders or whatever. Because of this, my resources are pretty simple, but contain some good stuff that have become staples in my Mods folder. Hopefully you’ll find some things you love just as much here too!

CAS

Default Replacements

Default Skin

Calluna Default Skin

Default Skin Tones

Bare Skin Tones
The Other Side (Light and Dark)

Default Teeth

Detailed Teeth

Default Eyes

Chroma Eyes

Default Feet

Feet V6

Default Female Bodies (18+)

Better Body (bottom)
Sopor Allure Breast Mesh


Default Male Bodies

Bod-E II

Favorite Eyelashes + Eyelash Remover Mod

3D Eyelashes – by Miiko
3D Eyelashes Part 1 – by Miiko
3D Eyelashes Part 2 – by Miiko
3D Eyelashes Part 3 – by Miiko
3D Eyelashes Part 4 – by Miiko
3D Lashes – by Dreamgirl
3D Lashes Part 2 – Dreamgirl
3D Lashes Part 3 – by Dreamgirl
3D Lashes Part 4 – by Dreamgirl
3D Uncurled Eyelashes – by Kijiko
3D Lashes – Kijiko
3D Lashes for Kids – by Kijiko
EA Eyelash Remover

Favorite Skin Overlays

Maxis Match

Amaryllis Skin
Myrica Skin
Azalea Skin
Heihu Face Overlay Collection
CapitalCo MilkTea Skin

Alpha

All skins by Sims3melancholic
Female Skin 21

Favorite Skin Details

Face Details

About Face – Face Kit
Face Kit by Miiko
Lip Kit by Miiko
Cheekbone Overlay
Structure by faaeish
Nosey Posey by faaeish
Nose Shader by faaeish
Little Details by faaeish
Chubby Cheeks by faaeish

Face Shine

Light It Up Face Shine
Topaz Highlight
Opal Highlight

Eye Details

Eye Shape Overlays
Basic 10 Eyebag Set For All
Early Bird Eye Bags

Freckles + Moles

Blu Freckles
Naomi Freckles
Delicate Moles

Aging Details

Landline Wrinkles
Crows Feet
Decades by faaeish

Body Details

Cellulite Overlay
Defined Hands
Belly Overlay
Cleavage Overlay Collection
Pregnancy Things

Favorite Presets

Eye, Nose, Lip, Ear Presets

Nose presets by Simbience
Luumia Ear Presets
More CAS Presets V2
Various mouth presets by Ratboysims
Lip, nose, and eye presets by Squeamishsims
Various presets by Obscurus
Lip, nose, and eye presets by Evoxyr
Various lip presets by Angissi
All presets by Northernsiberiawinds

Body Presets

Hourglass and Pear presets
Hot Boy presets
Vanya preset
Athletic Body preset
Athletic Body 2 preset
All body presets by Afrosimtric

Favorite Sliders

Pouty Lip Slider
Teanmoon Mouth Scale Slider
Teanmoon Mouth Scale Slider For All
Default Nose Slider
Default Brows Slider
Default Chin Slider
Shoulder Shape Slider
Detailed Butt Slider
Body Sliders for Days
Luumia Ear Up and Down Slider

Visual Mods + CC

Tidy Details + Tattoos / Occult + Get Famous Add-On / Acne Add-On
Tidy Accessories
Golden Light – CAS Lighting
CAS Blob Remover (there are many online; this is just one I found)
Night Loading Screen
Default Replacement Maps (I use the LS (low saturation version))
Default Terrain Re-texture
Default Food Re-textures (links to article)

Mods

Check out the Mods Recommendations section

Editing

Twinkle Toes Lighting Mod
SummerPop Reshade preset
My Editing Process (coming soon)

Episode 7: Boundaries and Stuff – Part 4

Amir takes Camilla out on another date and attempts to knock down some of the very loose boundaries that exist between them.

Amir

So, I know what I said before about relationships and messing things up, but something she said made the risk feel like it was worth taking. We were texting one night, super late, like three in the morning, and I asked if she was thinking ‘bout me—you know, just fucking with her.

She sent one of those thinking emojis, then a text right behind it. Late night thoughts are reserved for boyfriends, is what it said.

I could tell she was joking, but it got me thinking ‘bout how late at night… is when she’s always in mine.

It’s been like that for a minute too; her showing up in my dreams, doing shit like laying in my bed, leaving her stuff around, making my place hers. And when I wake up, it feels… real— right, like that’s how it’s supposed to be. And now I’m kinda feeling like… that’s what I want it to be.

Especially after that night at the movies, where she was comfortable letting things slip that she wouldn’t have before. Where she was good with ‘us’, and me keeping my arm around her waist like she was my girl. Where at the end, when it was time to go, she gave me that kiss, the one that had something, something in it like— I don’t know what, but I could tell she didn’t want to leave, and I didn’t want her to leave either.

So, I got this plan, and if— nah, when it goes the way I want, tonight’ll be the end of all these rules and what she calls boundaries, starting with the biggest one.

Her address.

I met her ‘round eight, at the same spot from last time—this gas station, I’m guessing’s close by her place. Her car was parked out front, but last time it wasn’t, so she must’ve walked then. And if she did walk, that means she can’t stay no more than a few blocks away.

I leaned across the passenger’s seat and opened the door for her. “Not walking today?” I asked as she slid inside.

Damn, she looks good.

She looked at me like I was crazy, a finger pointing down at her feet. “In these shoes? Boy, bye.”

A hint.

A good one too, ‘cause what I know about women and their shoes is they’re not walking long distances in heels, so the streets on either side of the gas station are out.

Getting that answer might be easier than I thought.

I took advantage of the opening she left me. “Must be a long walk if you’re worried about hurting your feet.”

She closed her door. “Long enough.” And strapped on her seat belt. “This place we’re going to has food, right?” Changing the subject before I could get any closer.

Damn.

So, it wasn’t easy, but it’s cool ‘cause we still had a whole night ahead of us, starting with food; and this date-night cooking class thing I had planned was going to get me all the answers I wanted.

I can’t take credit for the whole idea, though. The inspiration came from this corny ass movie I was watching the other day ‘bout this dude who was chasing this girl that stayed giving him the runaround. He tried everything to get her attention, but what won her over in the end, was taking her to do something she liked—but didn’t expect. In her case, it was pottery making.

Now, Camilla didn’t talk a lot about her hobbies, outside of that one show and some art shit, but one thing I’ve noticed from all the weekends we’ve spent together is she likes to eat—a lot.

So, this cooking class thing is like pottery making for her, and taking her home is winning for me.


We made it kinda late, but just in time to catch the main chef’s performance, which was crazier than the traffic we fought to get here. Instead of cooking like he was supposed to be, he was in front of the class, belly dancing—well, trying to anyway—to loud music that blared throughout the classroom.

His knives—that needed to be confiscated—were spinning above his head while he rolled his hips and shook his ass like a washed up R&B artist desperately trying to make a comeback.

When I found this thing on Simoogle, I knew it was going to be some bullshit—with its first-page result prices for this third-page result class—but last-minute date-night planning don’t leave you a lot of options.

The setup was nice, though. I’ll given him that, and Camilla liked it too, so I didn’t see the point in complaining.

Terrified gasps broke out amongst the other couples as we took our place at our station. Some were covering their faces while others sought comfort in their partners.

I looked at Camilla, half-expecting her to be as freaked out as some of the other women, but she was laughing, clearly enjoying herself, not an ounce of fear in sight.

I knew she was different.

Back upfront, he lunged from side-to-side, landing a knife in each hand before breaking out into a poorly executed cartwheel. His assistant met him once he landed; a blindfold in hand for his next life-threatening trick.

Camilla leaned into me.

“Where did you find this guy?” she whispered behind giggles that refused to be suppressed. “He’s hilarious.”

I gave a nonchalant shrug, like this kind of shit was part of my usual. “I got my sources.” Then nudged her a little. “They could be yours too.”

Her go-to for ominous responses like this was usually sarcasm, but this time she stayed quiet and went back to watching the show.

I put my arm around her, amplifying the hint I just dropped, but her silence remained. The new smile creeping up on her face, though, told me all I needed to know.

I’m definitely winning tonight.


We were entertained with bad dance moves and dangerous knife tricks for a little while longer, but I wasn’t tripping ‘cause the longer he kept this up, the longer I got to keep her where I wanted—next to me, snuggled up in my arms.

For the first time tonight, her guard was down and the odds of me finding out the thing I wanted to know shot up from like ten to seventy-five. When she looked up at me, for a third time, to comment on the crazy shit going on upfront, I took my shot…

“So, I was thinking later I could—”

But the crowd broke out in cheers as the chef took his bow, bringing his performance to a close.

I should beat his ass for his terrible timing.

We separated, following the assistant’s instructions to prep our stations. The countertop was full of all kinds of cooking shit; pans and bowls and other things I ain’t never seen before— not up close, anyway. The kitchen don’t get much face time in my house.

He silenced the music. “Alright, Junior Chefs.” And pointed at words written in large letters on the chalkboard behind him. “Welcome to Cooking With Love! Tonight, you lovebirds will learn first-hand how to make Chef Pancake’s world-famous chicken pesto pizza!”

World-famous? I don’t remember seeing no accolades next to his name; and why is a dude named Pancakes making pizza, anyway? And who the fuck names themself Chef Pancakes?

The assistant clapped loudly, urging the class to do the same, while the chef took his place in front of his station. He started the lesson with kitchen safety rules, then moved on to equipment and other things we’d be working with. Next was— Shit, I don’t know. I wasn’t really listening.

I was noticing, though, how comfortable Camilla was with all this. How it seemed like she knew what to do before he even told us. The way, in minutes, she had turned a bowl of flour, water, and oil into something that resembled pizza dough. The way she took charge, with no problems—almost like this kind of shit was part of her usual.

That movie might’ve been on to something.

The tomatoes I had been tasked to slice, sat untouched on the countertop while I watched her work. In the background, I reminisced about one of those dreams I mentioned. Specifically, the one where she spent the night, and it was late, and she said she was hungry, and we were in my kitchen and—

“What?” Her eyes shot up from her ball of dough.

Oh, shit.

Her tone, her pinched together eyebrows, her hands that would’ve been on her hips if they weren’t gripping a flour covered rolling pin—she had to have known I was watching her, or maybe she heard what I was thinking ‘bout her?

I hoped it was the first one.

I played it off like I wasn’t doing neither. “Nothing.” I nodded at the wall behind her. “I was looking at that poster over there.”

She sucked her teeth; her expression alone, calling me out on my bullshit. “I can feel you staring, Amir.”

Alright, she caught me, but telling her something she wants to hear, a touch even, for good measure, will make her forget about it.

“I’m just… watching you do your thing.” I ran my fingers slowly across hers. “You’re good at it.”

The skepticism washed away and a smile—the smile—the kind that let me know what I was saying, doing was working, took its place. “Thank you.”

And just like I predicted, she was good, and back to rolling her dough.

I grabbed a knife and started on those tomatoes, following up on that compliment I gave her. “You cook like this all the time?”

“God no.” She chuckled, shaking her head, like I was wrong for making that assumption.

I laughed at how dramatic her response was. “Why you say it like that?”

“No reason, I just…” She stopped rolling and looked up at me again. “Lets just say that… when you’ve spent as much time in the kitchen, against your will, as I have, it becomes your least favorite place.”

That was personal.

We didn’t even have sauce on the pizza yet, and I was already breaking down boundaries and shit.

I know I’m winning tonight.

I kept the momentum going by asking what she meant. So, she told me ‘bout how her mom has this catering business, and used to make her stay in the kitchen when she was little, so now it’s one of their many beefs that’s been going on for years.

If I would’ve known cooking would get her talking like this, I would’ve been taken her out.

“But you got all these skills, though.” I pushed some more; trying to see how much she would give me. “Why you don’t use them?”

She grinned in a way that said she wasn’t afraid of a little get-back. “Because I know it pisses her off.”

She’s definitely my kind of girl.

My grin matched hers. “So you like causing trouble, then?”

She shrugged. “Sometimes.”


She finished molding her crust and moved on to the sauce. I was still stuck on those tomatoes, but she didn’t seem to mind.

“So, what about you?” she asked. “You like causing trouble for your parents, too?”

Even though questions were my thing tonight, I let her have this one.

“Nah.” I kept my head down, focusing way more on those tomatoes than I wanted to. “But, let my mom tell it, though, everything I do is trouble.”

She stopped stirring; trying to catch a glimpse of my face that was conveniently shielded by my hair. “Why is that?” she asked in the most sympathetic voice I’ve ever heard in my life.

So sympathetic that I almost told her how my mom thinks her nephew is so fucking perfect that everything I do—good or great—in comparison, is always a fucking disappointment to her. How even after I bought my third condo, the only thing she could talk about was his degree, or the masterpiece he was going to write one day, or the grand-kids he was going to give his mom because he was capable of finding a nice girl and settling down—almost. I almost told her all that. But, I didn’t. I’m not trying to do all that with her.

“That’s boring.” I looked over at her with a forced a smile, and a new conversation topic in the works. “Tell me something interesting like…” She watched me curiously as I wracked my brain for a question that would get us back on track and me closer to my goal. “What you do for work.”

“That’s boring,” she mocked me alongside a mischievous smirk. “How about you tell me something interesting like…” She kept me waiting a few seconds, just like I did her. “Why you picked this place to go to.”

Damn, she’s good. Better at deflection than I thought. Not better than me, though.

“You don’t like it?”

“I do,” she said quickly. “You just keep…” She paused like she was weighing her words; trying to decide if what she wanted to say was worth saying. “Never mind…”

I guess it wasn’t. Or maybe it was?

She went quiet; giving all her attention to the sauceless pizza in front of us. Something changed, and I don’t know what it is.

Fuck. Am I winning tonight?


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!